Xiaomi fails in EU trademark case against Apple

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Xiaomi Mi Pad 2.jpg
(Image: Xiaomi)

The EU General Court in Luxembourg, the second-highest court in the European Union, has knocked back an appeal from Xiaomi this week, preventing its attempt to register a local trademark for its “Mi Pad” tablets as the name is too similar to Apple’s “iPad” and may confuse consumers.

The latest setback follows Xiaomi’s first attempt in 2014, when the Chinese brand initially filed an application for an EU trademark on its Mi Pad.

US technology giant Apple had subsequently complained to the EU Intellectual Property Office, which sided with Apple’s claims, saying that consumers could be misled and assume that the Mi Pad is a variation on Apple’s iPad trademark, according to a Sina news report.

Xiaomi’s Mi Pad was introduced in 2014, and has a close resemblance to Apple’s iPad mini products in terms of screen size, resolution, and device materials, according to the report.

A ZDNet review of the Mi Pad 2 said “at first glance, you’d swear it’s an iPad mini” and “a 7.9-inch display with 2,048×1,536 resolution for 326 pixels per inch. That’s exactly what Apple uses for its latest iPad mini tablets — and has since the iPad mini 2 debuted in November, 2013.”

Not only do Apple and Xiaomi’s tablet products look alike, the names “iPad” and “Mi Pad” are highly similar, according to the EU court.

“The signs at issue display a high degree of similarity owing to the fact that iPad is entirely reproduced in Mi Pad, that the two signs coincide as to the letter sequence ‘ipad’, and that they differ only as to the presence of the additional letter ‘m’ at the beginning of Mi Pad,” the General Court said in its ruling laid down on Tuesday, saying that it confuses both English and non-English speakers.

Xiaomi is still able to appeal to the Court of Justice against the decision of the General Court.

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